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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Turning The Corner is an adventure drama story for preteens by Ruozhen Ma. Inspired by her own experiences of re-joining school after two years of distance learning due to COVID lockdowns since 2020, Ruozhen recalls the period of adjustment she and her friends had to go through to feel like traditional fifth graders. With the advent of fifth grade also came dealing with puberty and the social cliques of school, which is never easy for any young girl. Being a Chinese American also adds to the challenges of trying to fit in. Upon her arrival in fifth grade, Ruozhen wins the student rep elections and performs spectacularly in sports, music, and writing contests. But is she prepared for middle school, where rumors, gossip, and social cliques are going to be on the next level?
The pandemic has created an unprecedented situation where schoolchildren of this generation have been forced to study from home for two years and return to the pressures and challenges of mingling with their peers in school. Ruozhen Ma, an eleven-year-old author, eloquently puts her experiences on paper and tells an engaging story any preteen can relate to. Turning The Corner represents the kids who have lost two years of their school life and now have to start anew. Ruozhen's interactions with her family, friends, and teachers feel genuine and authentic, and you can't help but find them adorable. The narrative is paced well and breezes past without a single hitch. I highly recommend this book to preteens and young adults alike.